(25th October, 2015)
H.E David Granger: Thank you all for coming out this Sunday afternoon. This is an important step in the development of this community. I am glad to be here although I didn’t expect to have to speak; I thought I was just cutting ribbons. As I am here, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the Rose Hall Developers for participating in this project. As I have heard; it has had many hands and I am glad that there is one project associated with PYCI that seems to have been put to use. I have seen some others around the country and some of them seem to be abandoned, so I am very happy, very happy that this is fulfilling its purpose.
Before I go further, I must pay my respect to Ms Anastasia Percival. I have heard a lot of patriotic songs in my life but what is so clear and so pure that, I think that maybe we need to put something like that on a compact disc so that people can hear, sometimes you hear a patriotic song and you know the singer is sincere, she believes what she is singing, so I was very glad to hear that song. I have had several engagements for the day and I have a couple more to come, but I would just like to say a few things:
One, I am not going to make any on-the-spot promises about the questions that you have raised, but I have been advised by the Presidential Advisor that some money is available and that money is going to be made available to this community to complete some of the community development projects, but I have a habit of not making public financial promises because I have to discuss these things with my Minister of Finance. What I can promise is that the Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment will be in touch with you and there will be some improvement right here in Fyrish.
But let me say this, I am afraid, always afraid of embarking on governmental intervention in communities unless the communities see themselves as partners and not as beneficiaries of handouts. We know central government must be involved but if we are to build the spirit of community development, the community also has to be involved.
It is easy for me to call the Regional Chairman, Mr. David Armogan and read the riot act and say, ‘you get yourself down to Fyrish and do this and do that’, but for you to feel part; for you to own this property, for you to own these premises, for you to own this facility, it is good, it is better for you to come out and be involved.
Saturday morning: have a big bowl of cook up rice, a big bowl of mauby and work and develop this project and when people say whose project it is; not PYCI, not government, not region, ‘ah we own, ah we project, ah we build it’, that is a source of pride.
So let me start by repeating what I said a little while, a few kilometres down the road that we all have to be educated in community development. It is not something that people intuitively believe; people intuitively believe that government must come and help them. Let us build that culture, through education, to help ourselves and you may be able to approach the region or the neighbourhood or central government to say, ‘Look we gone three quarters of the way, we need a few more bags of cement, we need some steel.’ So let us attempt to do what is being done in other areas.
There is a man called Foster, coming from Rose Hall and yes, he gets a lot of help because people realize he’s helping himself, he’s helping to bring these projects about. He doesn’t lie down in a hammock whole day; he doesn’t sit down on his hands. People feel they’re helping people who are prepared to help themselves and this is all I have to say on this matter. We have to educate our villagers, our residents, so that they too do not sit on their hands, but they get up and work towards the acquisition of resources and assets which you need in your communities.
The second thing I would like to ask is that you pay attention to is your organization. People want to see organized. They don’t just want one man in a cap showing up at the office; there’re no books, there’re no accounts, there’re no records. People want to know that there is an organization; when they give you some assistance you don’t put it in your pocket.
They want to know that there is some club, there is some NGO which is going to put those funds to work and next week, next month, next year they can come back and say, ‘hey, my money is well spent’ and like they say in the Bible; “thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been good in little matters, I’ll make you master of more.”
“To those to whom much is given, much is expected” and if you can go about the business of building your own facilities, much more would be added but believe me there must be some organization behind it. Sometimes we have organisations you know; when the chief is dead the war is done; one man show, when he goes the organization collapses that is why you need to bring along young people in the system who will assist and learn as apprentices, how to build these facilities that we need in these communities.
The third point I would like to mention, which I have repeated elsewhere today, is obligation. That is to say, that it is not the NDC, it is not the RDC which is obliged to help you, but you are obliged to help yourselves. You know, it is like when you are sick, some men when they are sick, they don’t want to see the doctor. So, who is getting sick? Who feeling bad, the doctor? Or you? So if you need facilities, you think the Regional Chairman feeling bad about it? He gets sleepless nights? He gets nightmares about Fyrish? You are obliged to help yourselves; to raise funds, to get materials in order to develop your resources.
I have been to Liverpool. I have been to Kildonan. I’ve been to Sandvoort on August Monday, Emancipation Day. I am convinced that more could be done if the people in those communities felt an obligation to help themselves; to augment those facilities. Perhaps we are looking for leadership, perhaps you are looking for that pioneer but believe me nobody is going to come across the ocean, walking on water that is going to give you everything you need. There must be within this community and all the communities in this great region, the willingness, the feeling of residents themselves to move forward and build the facilities which your communities need.
And finally, ladies and gentlemen, my brothers and sisters, I would like to leave with you one more word and that is the necessity to mobilize all of these communities. I cannot believe that this village, which has produced academics and doctors, some of the finest sportsmen not only in the region but also in the entire country, do not have the leadership to complete the sporting facilities and other recreational facilities that you need.
There must be greater grassroots mobilization and that is what it means to belong to an organization; that’s what it means to have the correct orientation that people must be able to say, ‘look, come Saturday, let us embark on some programme to get water into this community’.
Let us embark on some programme to deal with the mosquito menace. Let us embark on some programme to control solid waste; to provide energy by building some solar facilities, by bringing an NGO into this community to help to provide for the needs of the residents of this community.
You have a proud tradition but don’t let that pride degenerate into a feeling of dependency that, ah, you vote for Granger; he will come and give you some splendid palace; oh, you vote for APNU, you vote for AFC. No matter whom you vote for, eventually you will have to demonstrate that spirit of organization, of orientation, obligation, to mobilize your own resources to make this community a better place.
I haven’t come here to threaten you because I love you and I know who you vote for, but I have come here to work with you and to encourage you to continue to show me that spirit; the spirit which you’ve shown at the cricket field. I’ve worked with some of these Crandons’, because this is like Crandon Ville, it is true! I’ve worked and they can work hard because in the organization to which we belong, you don’t get away with idling, malingering, you have to work hard. Let us see that hard work being reflected in leadership in this community.
Thank you very much for having me this afternoon.
May God bless you!
I will help, I will help and you too; you will help yourselves.
God bless you.